Nestled among a wide expanse of green space in far Northern Illinois, Shepherd's Crook Golf Course in Zion can be a difficult place to play on a breezy day.
When the wind blows with the ferociousness that it did in the latter stages of Saturday's Zee-Bee Invitational, it can be downright intimidating.
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As a matter of fact, Prospect coach Tom Martindale said it would be 'quite an accomplishment' for any player to break 80 at the Zion-Benton hosted meet. That made the performance of the Knights, Mid-Suburban League rival Fremd and Saint Viator freshman Liam Warner all the more impressive.
With a spectacular showing in a 20-school field that included several of the state's top teams, Fremd took second and Prospect third in a meet dominated by Lake Forest.
The Scouts won the team trophy and also boasted the top three individual medalists.
Warner took home the fourth-place medal by firing a 77.
"You had to keep the ball low today off the tee," said Warner, who led the Lions to a sixth-place finish. "If you got it up in the air, who knows where it was going."
Fremd, undefeated in the MSL this season, counted scores from Zach Schultz (78, sixth individually) Josh Rosenzweig (79, 10th), Jamie Drost (80) and Gibsyn Martin and Dylan Norys, who both shot 83's.
"The big difference in our team this year is that these guys truly enjoy playing golf together," said Vikings coach Josh Teschner. "In tournaments, practice rounds, on the range, they have great camraderie."
Prospect, which received outstanding performances from Tyler Yarwood (seventh with 79), Joey Corrado (80), Josh Johnson (81) and Ryan Maloney (82), is also banking on team chemistry this campaign.
"Our players have such a strong sense of togetherness," said Martindale, whose undefeated Knights have a critical conference match coming up against Fremd.
"They support each other on and off the course. They're teammates but they're also friends, and some of the friendships they've made will last a lifetime."
Stevenson's Logan Brim (79), Drost, Corrado, Johnson and Maine West's Tom Kukec (81) all took home medals on a day that was -- except for that pesky breeze -- beautiful for golf.
Chris Oberto (82) was tops for Warren, while Jeremy Schwab from host Zion-Benton fired an 83.
Buffalo Grove's Matt Froemming (84) and Vernon Hills' Eric Swanson (85) made strong showings, while senior Jarrett Kinney of Cary-Grove carded one of the top back-nine rounds of the day. While others were struggling on their final 9 holes due to the brisk north wind, Kinney fired a 40-38-78 to claim the fifth-place medal.
Kinney said that while he tried to adapt to the "cold conditions" on the front nine, he came alive in the latter stages of the tourney.
"I guess I just found myself," said the senior. "I was hitting fairways and getting birdies."